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What Mina Sundwall Learned From Parker Posey On Lost In Space - Exclusive

The original "Lost in Space," which began airing in 1965, featured two very young performers as part of the Robinson family — Angela Cartwright, who played Penny Robinson, and Bill Mumy, who starred as the robot-loving Will Robinson.

When "Lost in Space" was rebooted for Netflix in 2018, both actors returned to the series, albeit it in brief performances, although both relate to arguably the most infamous character from "Lost in Space" — the irrepressible (and sometimes evil) Dr. Smith. Mumy plays the "real" Doctor Smith, the man June Harris (Parker Posey) subdues and takes the name of in Season 1. Cartwright, meanwhile, portrays June's mother, Sheila Harris.

Posey is a veteran actor with starring roles dating back into the 1990s. Perhaps most notably, Posey stars in a number of Christopher Guest mockumentaries, including "Waiting for Guffman," "Best in Show," and "A Mighty Wind." Each of those films required Posey to think on her toes and improvise with the other comedic actors in the film. 

Looper recently sat down with Netflix's Penny Robinson, Mina Sundwall, to ask her what she, as a young actor herself, learned from the new, fake, and evil Doctor Smith.

Learning to improv with Parker Posey

Mina Sundwall was one of the youngest actors working on the set of "Lost in Space" and, according to her, she wanted to learn from everyone she could. "Parker [Posey] is incredible and wonderful to watch in so many different ways.," she says. "I absolutely was sponging up as much as I could from all of [the cast], and I am the one who asks all of the annoying questions."

Because Parker Posey is such a gifted improvisational performer, we were curious to find out if there was an opportunity for improvisation of the "Lost in Space" set and what Sundwall learned from Posey specifically.

"There was a lot of room for us to play around," Sundwall reveals. "There was a room for us to play and find little moments, whether they were outside of the script or adding something very small in or pitching an idea. I ad-libbed some lines. That was a lot of fun, getting to speak in Penny's voice in a different way. Parker absolutely was able to find different ways to approach a scene and shine a different light on something. It was scripted for things that were beyond our control, for sure, in terms of the effects in what the world had, but there were little moments in the personalities that we could make our own."

As for what lines Sundwall improvised during the final season, she wasn't able to specify, but it's exciting to know that she was able to add to the character of Penny Robinson while learning from Parker Posey at the same time.

The final season of "Lost in Space" is now streaming on Netflix.